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A quick guide to motorcycle luggage

While some motorcycle enthusiasts look forward to track days, and others live for scrambling exploits, a huge number of riders prefer to make the most of the freedom their bike gives them by packing their bags and embarking on a road trip.

Touring – even if the tour is relatively short – is often made more enjoyable when you can take a few comforts with you... for example a change of clothes for when you reach your destination, or more weatherproof riding clothes in case of rain.

Of course the rather obvious restriction of riding a bike is the lack of 'storage space' available.  A car has a boot to fill a few provisions with, but such a large storage space on a motorcycle is of course impractical.

Your solution to on-the-move storage is to buy some sort of purpose-built motorcycle luggage.

Motorcycle luggage

Having motorcycle luggage increases the practicality of your bike, and being able to take a few necessities with you gives you much more scope for exploring further afield.

There are several types of motorcycle storage, starting at the cheap end with woven fabric saddle bags that are attached by threading straps under and over your seat and fixed into place with the use of Velcro fasteners. These are basic if you compare them with, for example, the kind of sturdy metal panniers that many adventure and touring riders tend to opt for, but will certainly suffice for relatively low-mileage everyday travel.

Another luggage option is a tank bag, which cleverly utilises the empty space over the top of a bike's fuel tank and is held in place by a combination of straps and a strong magnet or two.

Motorcycle luggage rack

Some motorcycles are sold with a detachable luggage rack, which is a tubular steel (or similar) construction that can be affixed behind your seat with 'arms' that conveniently bolt on either side. If you buy one of these luggage racks separately as an accessory for your bike, then you'll need to be sure that you're buying one that will definitely fit your motorcycle, because purchasing the 'wrong' rack means the positions of the bolts/attachments will be wrong and you won't be able to fit it.

Of course if you own a touring-suitable Triumph then you'll benefit from the fact that Triumph motorcycles are customisable with accessories and luggage that have been designed and tested alongside the motorcycle itself during the production process. In practice this means that you'll be personalising your bike by adding motorcycle luggage that has been specifically designed for it.

Installing motorcycle luggage

Let's take a couple of Triumph examples.

The Tiger Explorer is a motorcycle that has been specifically designed for on-road long distance journeys, with all the capability you need to go off-roading too. To match its rugged toughness, the Tigers' accessories include heavy-duty aluminium panniers that can be attached to the bike with a similarly heavy duty mounting kit to ensure everything stays in place safely and securely. Of course, the mounting kit, and then the panniers, can be easily attached and detached as required, and you can rest easy in the knowledge that the equipment you're using meets the demands of your ride. (And if you did specifically want luggage to sit on the tail behind you, the Tiger has a selection of tail bags too.)

If a more cruiser-type ride is your thing, then Triumph's fast-selling Bonneville Bobber is one of the most stylish rides available. Once again, as with all Triumph motorcycles, the Bobber is customisable (with a choice of over 100 accessories); waxed cotton panniers in this example provide over 27 litres-worth of storage, and they look great too!

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